Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

Why get married? Once, there was a time where that might have seemed like a silly question. But now, many people can tell you exactly why not. We examine how marriage has been changing over the last few decades ... and what it might look like in the future.

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A lot of people think social media is cutting into how well we interact with each other in real life. A local researcher says that may not be the case.

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An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local bassist and composer Jeff Harshbarger.

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Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

We explore why the world of science fiction is a battleground for issues of race, gender and identity — and why that field of battle is here in KC over the next few days at the World Science Fiction Convention.

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C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Mark Hayes’s musical career started with a decision: piano lessons or band instrument?

He was going to grade school in Normal, Illinois, and his school offered lessons. Since he had three siblings, his parents said that they could afford to pay for either one or the other.

He chose the piano, and, as he said, he never looked back.

Kyle Smith / KCUR 89.3

A former contestant on Project Runway: Junior discusses how his upbringing in Minneapolis, Kansas influences his creations — and how his design aesthetic is geared towards "BA women who want to look glamorous."

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we revisit our conversation with teenage fashion designer Jaxson Metzler.

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Courtesy of Amina Hood / Amina Marie Millinery

Hats may not seem like the cutting edge of fashion, but one Brookside milliner is drawing international attention nevertheless. We invite Kansas City's own Amina Hood to share the personal story of her craft.

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Composer, artist, software designer ... whatever you want to call him, R. Luke DuBois is a thinker. He's done a portrait of every president using only words from their State of the Union addresses, and employed a real gun and blank bullets to visualize every shooting in New Orleans, all with the aim of helping people better understand the world around them.

It's the new Netflix series that's winning audiences by invoking the 1980s ... and by freaking us out. We talk about the appeal of Stranger Things, along with our nostalgia for the music and films of three decades ago.

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An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local group The Buhs.

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  • Herman Mehari and Julia Haile, The Buhs

Summer Fun

Aug 11, 2016

What did you do in the summer as a kid? How important is it that kids learn something and stay busy ... or get fresh air? As summer draws to a close, we explore how summer vacation is changing.

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Jacob Meyer / KCBMC

By the time the weekend arrives, a little comic relief is welcome. So how about more than a little?

You can begin with a comic book party, a comic beard contest and that funny little comic who made “makin’ copies” a catch phrase on “Saturday Night Live.”

I know, it’s never enough. How tragicomic.

1. Kansas City Comic Con

Graphic novels are becoming more popular ... and they're also evolving. What exactly are they? A chat with someone who taught high-schoolers about this, plus two local authors, whose graphic novel was a finalist for the 2016 Eisner Award.

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More than a thousand of his musical works have been published, and they're performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to your local church choir loft. We hear from Kansas City's own Mark Hayes, about his journey from playing the church piano as a teen, to becoming an internationally-known composer out of his home in KC. 

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An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local musician Taryn Miller, who performs as Your Friend.

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  • Taryn Miller, Your Friend

He's a nationally-known artist with a new work, Property, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. And he's also a product of central Missouri.

We chat with Nick Cave about how Property takes a thousand of his own personal objects, many from his childhood, to tell a story of who he is ... and who we all are.

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Walter / Flickr - CC

Choices for being adventurous this weekend include beholding cosmic swashbuckling, singing along with pop idols in their spicy prime and getting totally soaked on a colossal downtown slip-and-slide.

Your mission: Don’t pick just one. Because where’s the adventure in that?

1. ‘Star Wars’ Marathon

Dance can be a way to express yourself, but it can also be a way to meet people and find community. Kansas Citians have tangoed, sashayed, two-stepped, and boogied all over the streets and dance floors of this city for decades. But what's new in the scene? What are the cultures of dancing in our city? And, are there still places to dance? 

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Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

From the outside, Westend Recording Studio is an unassuming building in a quiet neighborhood just across State Line Road in Kansas City, Kansas. But inside, insulated by walls of foam, there's a hardcore noise rock band recording session.

On a Wednesday night, Kansas City heavy band 34 is recording a new song, with producer and sound engineer Justin Mantooth working the mixing console in the control room.

Hordes of storytellers from around the world are descending on Kansas City over the next few days for the National Storytelling Conference. How do we craft better stories and why does the way we tell stories matter? We find out why this ancient art is still in vogue today.  Plus, a story from last February's Flame KC event.

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Hopper Stone - © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In 1984, Ghostbusters was the top-grossing comedy of all time ... and a cultural phenomenon. (Remember those "I've been slimed" T-shirts?)

We review the new version, along with the legacy of the original. Plus, we hear some of Kansas City's ghost stories.

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An excerpt from Ghost Notes, a new music podcast in KC. Host Hannah Copeland talks with local hip-hop artist Barrel Maker.

In Ancient Rome, members of the privileged elite communicated their wealth and status by adorning themselves and their homes with a variety of luxury goods. A new exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases some of the most extraordinary pieces of the Empire. 

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On Target

Jul 14, 2016

He's a 21-year-old who has gone from his small Missouri town to representing the U.S. in the Olympics. Meet Zach Garrett, an archer from Wellington, Missouri.

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Courtesy Mark English

Transitioning from picking cotton to painting storefront signs was a big change for a young Mark English growing up in Texas during the Great Depression. 

The change was notable for its pay increase, English remembered, going from earning two dollars a day to a hundred. But painting signs was also his first “art job.” 

At the time, English had yet to take an art class or even meet a self-described artist. 

Kris Krug / Wikimedia Commons

Can I give it to you straight? Probably not. Even if I could, would you take it that way?

Increasingly little these days appears to be totally safe from a potentially ironic interpretation – the sense that the opposite may be true of whatever professed message is being sent, often with humorous results.

Of course, there’s both intentional and unintentional irony, which sometimes can be tricky to differentiate. So I won’t try here. Unless I just did. But I probably didn’t!

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City artist Ryan Wilks explored a wide range of gender and sexuality in the 12 large-scale portraits and interviews on display in the show Gender Treason at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. He and one of his painting subjects say the process of creating the art changed each of them.

Guests:

  • Ryan Wilks, artist
  • Ana Marcela Maldonado Morales, visual artist, tattoo artist, musician
Courtesy Aliki Barnstone

Missouri has a new poet laureate: Aliki Barnstone, a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia, appointed last week by Gov. Jay Nixon. Barnstone has published seven books of poetry; her first was published when she was 12; her eighth, Dwelling, is expected this fall.

Everybody seems to be talking about storytelling these days. That's music to our ears on Central Standard, where we're always looking for good, true tales about life in Kansas City. This past winter, KCUR sponsored a series of storytelling events at Pilgrim Chapel in Hyde Park, called FlameKC.

We will be airing some of those stories over the next couple of weeks, starting with the first. Within the theme "Letting Go," Pilgrim Chapel director Andrew Johnson shared his story about parenting and time.

Potter's Field

Jun 30, 2016
Anna Sturla / KCUR 89.3

Leeds Cemetery, which is out by I-435, near the stadiums, is a potter's field. Underneath the empty, grassy field are the bodies of people whose families were too poor to pay for funerals.

We explore what happens to unclaimed bodies in Kansas City.

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  • Gloria Lundy, local resident whose grandfather is buried at Leeds
  • Bridget Anaya, manager, Charter Funerals

 

 

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